CHiPs are down for school-play costume


You just never know when you will be tapped for greatness.
On the day the play parts were passed out by the school’s music teacher – a man with nerves of steel and/or really heavy-duty ear plugs – my son came bearing that slip of paper like it was the sword pulled from the stone.
Classic role. The paper was enormously helpful because our son had absorbed the spirit – if not the letter – of the part he was to play.
In that lisping voice that only toothless 8-year-olds can carry with any aplomb, he had informed us, proudly, that he was to play what to our ears sounded distinctly like “Erik Estrada.”
Visions of CHiPs (the ’80s television program) dancing in our heads, we wondered, with great concern, how the music teacher intended to get the motorcycles into the auditorium, let alone teach a bunch of small children how to ride them!
Alas, a quick glance at the paper soon set us straight. Our son would, in fact, be Aristotle. Great. A California Highway Patrol uniform I could probably scoop up on eBay easy. This Aristotle costume, on the other hand, was going to be trouble.
Unsuitable. Now, I love a lot of things about education in general. The devotion. The dedication. The hot lunches designed to keep those nice ketchup growers in business. The six hours each day that someone else attempts to teach my child “new math.” I am all for it.
What I take issue with is the continued delusion by educational authorities that parents are universally “crafty” and/or possess white sheets.
In the case of the former, you are often instructed to just “whip up” a costume out of things like fabric and thread and pins. As I don’t sew a whit, I rely heavily on the pin option. My costumes are less performance art and more like child abuse.
Almost worse than sewing, however, is the persistent belief that people actually own pure, white sheets anymore. I haven’t seen a non-striped, floral-free sheet since my great-gram’s linen cupboards 20 years ago. Why are there never any costumes requiring a nice, 400-thread-count Waverly print?
Granted, this same joker assigned us, as last year’s costume, the daunting task of finding plain BROWN sweat-suits. For the record, brown is not a color that exists in the sweat-suit spectrum. We think this man lies awake nights thinking up new and ever crueler punishment for parents.
Gearing up. Thus I ended up trundling down to some bedding store and paying full retail for a plain, white sheet solely for the purpose of cutting it to bits. From this I would fashion an “Aristotle” costume. Having no visual aids for what fashion sense Aristotle may or may not have possessed, I was forced to wing it.
I envisioned a toga of sorts – kind of Animal House party scene meets second-grade play. I added a lovely “rope” belt fashioned from a curtain tassel for effect. I think it important, even in ancient Greece, to properly accessorize.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.